04/14/05 — Goldsboro High School enhances learning

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Goldsboro High School enhances learning

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 14, 2005 1:47 PM

A $31,000 technology grant to expand the learning lab at Goldsboro High School will prove beneficial to the entire community, say education leaders.

A grant from the Beaumont Foundation is providing the Wade Edwards Learning Lab with 15 laptop computers, a wireless router, a printer, an LCD projector and two digital cameras for students and the public to use.

The school's learning lab opened in 2001 as a partnership between the Wade Edwards Foundation and Wayne County public schools. Edwards was the son of former Sen. John Edwards. He died in a car accident in 1996. Because of his interest in technology, a center in his name was added at a Raleigh high school. When the decision was made to later introduce a second site further east, the Department of Public Instruction identified Wayne County and recommended Goldsboro High.

"It was important because it lacked the technology at the time," said Principal Pat Burden. "We also had the spacing ... we're in the center of Goldsboro, so it allowed for access to the community."

Additional funding for the expansion was received from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Wayne Community College.

Besides being a tool for all students in Wayne County, the lab has been used by the public as a computer-access site, with training opportunities provided through workshops on basic computer skills, Internet tutorials and training in office software. The grant will make it possible for the public to check out laptops for use at home.

"It is a good opportunity to introduce the community to state-of-the-art technology they may not normally have access to," said Robert Yancey, author of the grant and instructional technology specialist for the school system. "I hope through the implementation of the wireless lab, we can extend programs at the (learning lab) by providing even more comprehensive access than before."

Burden said the expansion of services has been a special gift to her school.

"Even though it's open from 2:45 until 8 in the evening, students have the opportunity to come in, receive tutorial services, work on homework, and use it for other activities," she said.

Teachers are also able to access the lab, she said, and integrate the technology into their curriculum.

Perhaps those who benefit most, though, are students lacking the technology at home.

Sophomore Marcus Uzzell said he first learned about the lab from a friend who suggested he take advantage of it.

"I came because I didn't have an Internet connection at home," he said. "I needed a place to do research."

In the lab, Uzzell said, he can work on projects and save them on a disc. He said he and other students without a computer or the Internet at home have appreciated the opportunity to have access to the information they need to carry on their work.

"If I didn't have this lab," he said, "I would not be able to research subjects for my classes as efficiently."

Tony Smith, the director of the lab, said he has also had patrons from local colleges, as well as East Carolina University, take advantage of the technology. Expanding the lab's offerings will allow the school to have concurrent activities going on, he said.

"We're proud of carrying on a rich tradition of education and community services," he said.

During ceremonies on Wednesday, area officials were given a tour of the lab, which Yancey called a model program that other school systems will want to emulate.